NCBF Pro Bono Staff Attorney Nihad Mansour leads Wills for Heroes training session.

Manning Fulton hosted a North Carolina Bar Foundation Wills for Heroes clinic on Saturday, Sept. 14. The daylong event was held at the Durham Fire Department Training Center in conjunction with the city’s ongoing sesquicentennial celebration.

Dozens of Manning Fulton attorneys and additional volunteers, including notary publics, participated in the event.

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“It was heartwarming to witness an auditorium full of lawyers and staff generously donating their time and professional advice to those who serve us so bravely, the first responder community,” said Mark Holt, president-elect of the NCBF and the North Carolina Bar Association.

“It was equally moving to witness the trust and gratitude of the first responders and their family members as the legal professionals counseled them about extremely personal matters regarding their estates and end-of-life health care decisions.”

Manning Fulton attorneys assisted some 40 first responder families with the preparation of free estate planning documents throughout the day.

“It is a unique need that we felt well-positioned to fill as a natural, service-focused response to the call for celebration,” said Barry Mann, Manning Fulton’s managing partner, “and particularly appropriate in the wake of the tragic explosion earlier this year, after which the community of Durham rallied together to serve those affected by the blast and to celebrate the heroism of those who risked their lives to contain the danger.”

The firm, he added, opened its office in downtown Durham in 2015, but has served families throughout the Triangle since 1955.

“Our attorneys have lived and worked in Durham for decades,” Mann said, “and all have been on the front lines of the city’s growth and change, both personally and professionally. We have always invested in the communities in which we live and work, and this program is just the latest opportunity we have found to give back.”

Holt applauded the firm’s contributions to the public and the profession.

“Lawyers are called to serve others and the Manning Fulton attorneys and staff generously demonstrated the best of our profession in reaching out to serve the dedicated and brave community of first responders,” Holt said. “We are grateful to the attorneys and staff of Manning Fulton for their dedicated pro bono service to these brave heroes. I was honored to volunteer with them.”

Wills for Heroes provides free estate planning documents to the heroes of our communities – law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and their peers who protect and serve the citizens of this state as first responders. The program was established in following the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, which claimed the lives of hundreds of first responders, many of whom did not have wills.

“This is amazing,” said Eddie Camacho, who has served with the Raleigh Police Department for nearly 15 years. “I can’t believe that they do this. We appreciate it very much.”

As is often the case, Camacho learned of the NCBF pro bono opportunity through a colleague who attended a previous clinic. His wife, Kaitlyn, added her appreciation while noting that the timing of this event was perfect.

“Three months ago we had our last child,” the mother of three said, with emphasis on the word last. “Especially given the current climate, it gives me peace of mind to have this done.”

The NCBA Young Lawyers Division adopted Wills for Heroes as its signature project and conducted its first clinic in 2007. Wills for Heroes is now conducted through the North Carolina Bar Foundation under the direction of NCBF Pro Bono Staff Attorney Nihad Mansour. If you have questions regarding the Wills for Heroes program, please contact Nihad at 919-677-9875 or via email at [email protected].

Upcoming Wills for Heroes clinics include:

  • Saturday, October 5, 2019 – Durham
  • Saturday, October 12, 2019 – Chapel Hill
  • Saturday, November 2, 2019 – Raleigh
Barry Mann, Manning Fulton managing partner, left, and Mark Holt, NCBA/NCBF president-elect.